Thursday, April 9, 2009

Prenatal Chiropractic Care: Why?

note: In order to bring you accurate information concerning hot parenting issues, I've teamed with some local professionals who have agreed to share their knowledge in each of their fields of expertise. I will regularly consult with the professionals when writing about topics like breastfeeding, babywearing, health and natural childbirth, prenatal and pediatric chiropractic care and child rearing. This post includes information from Dr. Jill Balla Shaw, D.C. She is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and is Webster Certified. You can read her Snapshot interview here.

Before we decided to try for round two of insanity (read also: getting pregnant), I made a careful decision to begin chiropractic care. Many of the mommy friends in our local Attachment Parenting group had been discussing the benefits of prenatal as well as pediatric chiropractic care, so I began to unravel the details concerning primarily chiropractic during pregnancy.

Dr. Jill Balla Shaw, of JBS Wellness in Gurnee, was the guest speaker at one of our AP meetings, and it was there that she began to unfold and demonstrate why chiropractic care was so necessary while mama is growing another human (read also: while mama's body is being taken over by crazy hormones and a ravenously hungry jumping bean).

"During pregnancy our primary concern is in balancing the pelvis," Dr. Shaw explained. "We want baby to have all the room it needs to grow without constraint, and we want baby to get into proper position for birth."

Initially, as she spoke, I was thinking that the uterus, which is where the baby grows, didn't have much to do with the spine. But I quickly found that I was mistaken.

"We look at the pelvis bowl, and specifically the sacrum (bone) at the bottom of spine, which is a triangle piece between the two large hip bones. We look at that because there is an attachment onto the round ligament. If the sacrum is pulled up on one side or the other, it causes the round ligament to pull up. That makes one side of the uterus smaller. This is where we see transverse position, inverse, breach or posterior positions."

As she explained, a light went off in my head. Gabe was posterior through out nearly 32 of my 36 hours of labor. I recalled also as she spoke, the horrible lower back pain I experienced through out my pregnancy and specifically during my labor. So what she said next didn't really surprise me.

"When women feel back labor, baby is face out instead of face back (posterior). Ideally, we want baby's head down and baby's face pointing toward the spine. When the back of the head is against the spine, it allows the largest part of head to go out first. When baby is posterior, it causes pain and back labor so women then may opt for drugs. And pain medication may cause a chance for Cesarean Section."

She had described my first labor almost exactly. I was lucky enough to have escaped without a C-Section, though. After I went to see Dr. Shaw for my first adjustment, she confirmed that my sacrum, among many other parts of my spine, was out of place. It likely had been out of place through out my entire pregnancy with Gabe, and the outage more than likely caused Gabe's posterior positioning and ultimately a long, painful labor.

"We want to get the sacrum back to a normal position and release some muscles and ligaments around the pelvis to keep it balanced," Dr. Shaw said. "Because pregnancy is such a short time and women have such a weight change, we have to stay on top of it so that a woman doesn’t get so out of whack that the baby doesn’t grow properly."

Of course, Dr. Shaw also provided some me with some results recorded in studies by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association so I could share them with you.

"Chiropractic care during pregnancy decreases the length of labor 40 percent in first-time moms and lessons it in second-time moms as long as they have had a vaginal birth," Dr. Shaw said. "It also helps with lower back pain pain and pubic symphysis dysfunction, which is when the pelvis itself is out of alignment. The pubic symphysis is the bony part in front even with the femur heads, and when it is out of whack, it is horribly painful."

So far, through out this pregnancy, Dr. Shaw has proven her statements are accurate: I have experienced considerably less back pain and overall general discomfort from the internal changes brought on by the pregnancy. She has worked with me consistently to relieve pain and pressure that has been brought about by the growth and movement thus far, and I cannot believe how excellent my lower back and sacrum area feels in comparison to the first pregnancy.
Additionally, Dr. Shaw has worked with me on balancing my nutrition with non-synthetic (read also: better digested) nutritional supplements. I think this has increased my energy greatly.
For more information about prenatal chiropractic care, please visit Dr. Shaw's Web site.


  1. I am a Chiropractor that has always felt very honored to be of assistance during this very special time in a womans life. I am so glad that you were able to have less discomfort with this pregnancy than you did with your first. It was really nice that you decided to express your positive experience and share it with others. Who knows maybe someone else will find relief from Chiropractic care due to your sharing. My best to you and your family,
    Gary M. Guest DC

  2. Chiropractic treatment is one of the best methods for treating numerous health problems naturally. After years of experience being a chiropractor, I have found that it is a powerful way to solve many pain conditions, like headaches, neck pain and back pain, as well as many non-pain condition as well, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and sinus problems.
    chiropractor suwanee

  3. I'm a bit late to this party...but for anyone checking out chiropractic care during pregnancy I cannot say enough about it! I truly believe it helped my 2nd pregnancy so much. I had my daughter in under 2hrs...she was just ready to go and so was my body. Best decision I ever made!


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